TTT x UNESCO-HK ESD 2013/14: Biodiversity Workshop

Written on . Posted in Biodiversity, ESD, Events, Marine conservation, Past Events

23 November 2013 / Students and teachers from Shatin Methodist College, CUHKFAA Chan Chun Ha Secondary School, Ling Liang Church M H Lau Secondary School and St Paul’s Secondary School joined us at the Eco Education Centre for a workshop on Biodiversity of Tai Tam Tuk.

This was our second workshop hosted in a series organised by UNESCO-HK’s Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Learning Programme 2013/14 under the Environment theme, with this year’s focus: “Preserve the environment for sustainable development”.

We structured the workshop to facilitate learning about the rich biodiversity of HK’s diverse ecosystems, but also to explore the relationship between conservation and sustainable development.  What is the value of protecting biodiversity?  How have international conventions decided to manage global biodiversity?  What is HK doing about it?  What can we all do about it- starting locally?

The session was led by TTT’s Vickie Yau collaborating with Dr Terence Ng, a post-doctoral fellow at The Swire Institute of Marine Science, University of HK, in neighbouring Cape D’Aguilar.

Dr Ng received his PhD in marine science in 2013.  His research focuses on the poorly understood sexual selection strategies of marine snails.  Students were lucky to watch Dr Ng’s footage of the snails in action!

Students learned about the environmental science of intertidal ecology of HK and the Tai Tam Tuk mangroves, and received practical guidance on identifying common local mangroves and associated fauna such as mudskippers and Buddhist crabs.  Jenna Ho Marris, one of our founders, gave a short presentation about HK’s first Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, which is due in 2015.

Students were then guided to conduct independent field studies of the physical and biological features of the exposed intertidal zone by the Eco Education Centre.  Vickie closed the session with a reminder about plastic marine debris and its impact on biodiversity.

Thanks to Dr Terence Ng and SWIMS for their support, and to volunteers Ken Wong, Maggie Yu and Law Shun Hei of the City University Photographic Society.

Learn more about Terence’s work, watch his winning presentation at the Three Minute Thesis Competition 2012 here.

More photos from the workshop can be accessed at UNESCO-HK’s online album.

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TTT x UNESCO-HK ESD 2013/14: Water Workshop

Written on . Posted in ESD, Events, Past Events, Water

9 November 2013 / Students from The Chinese Foundation Secondary School joined us at the Eco Education Centre for a workshop on Water and Us, our first workshop of a series organised by UNESCO-HK’s Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Learning Programme under the Environment theme.

This year’s Environment theme has the focus: “Preserve the environment for sustainable development”. Linking the concepts of water, environment and sustainable development, students explored sources of fresh water in the world, water treatment and waste water impact.

The workshop was led by TTT’s Vickie Yau collaborating with Elvis Xu, a PhD candidate at The Swire Institute of Marine Science, University of HK- the marine laboratory located at Cape D’Aguilar, just across Tai Tam Bay, and adjacent to HK’s only marine reserve.

Elvis’s research focuses on environmental factors influencing seawater quality and tracking environmental risks to Cape D’Aguilar Marine Reserve.  He discovered high levels of pollutants in seawater in the reserve, including endocrine disrupting chemicals, being released from adjacent sewage treatment plants.

Dunstan Marris, one of our founders, gave an introduction to the business side of HK and China’s water supply and how this can be seen as “water risk”.  He explored the contribution of industrial and agricultural use of water in China and the concept of a water footprint, which Vickie later developed.  How can the business sector change its water consumption, why should it do so and what is the role of individuals in guiding action?

The workshop concluded with a reminder about the impact of personal actions on water risk- not only our personal consumption, but also that our behaviour can impact business.  Students considered how individuals can conserve water at a personal level, by a housing estate and what HK can do to improve its water supply.

Thanks to the Water Services Department for their guidance and resources in developing course material, and to Elvis Xu and SWIMS for their support.

Learn more about HK’s water in this 2012 article by HK-based NGO, China Water Risk: 8 Things You Should Know about Hong Kong Water

Photos from the workshop can be accessed at UNESCO-HK’s Facebook page.

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TTT x Ocean Recovery Alliance: Kids Ocean Day 2013

Written on . Posted in Events, Marine conservation

(8 November 2013) The 2nd Annual Kids Ocean Day Hong Kong saw more than 1,000 students, teachers and volunteers forming the shape of a giant shark on Repulse Bay Beach, calling out “Respect”, and “Save me” in Chinese characters.

This amazing event was brought to HK in 2013 by Ocean Recovery Alliance, and created 20 years ago by the Malibu Foundation, California, to engage kids in ocean conservation.

But KOD is not just a fun day of beach art. As co-organisers with ORA, TTT recruited some 40 keen volunteers from the University of Hong Kong, to bring the marine conservation message into school assemblies across Hong Kong and Macau.

With their help TTT spread the message (including in Cantonese for the first time) speaking to some 700 students at Confucian Tai Shing Primary School, Ap Lei Chau Kai Fong Primary School, Canadian International School and School of the Nations, Macau, with the initiative reaching some 1,800 students total. Thanks guys!

Read the full report by Ocean Recovery Alliance.

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Kids Ocean Day was a collaboration with the Ocean Recovery Alliance and others in a month-long effort to raise awareness and empower the younger generation to protect the ocean. Months ahead of the event, the day was preceded by an art competition open to all school-aged children. The theme of the competition was, “What do you hear from the ocean?”

Over 200 children answered this call for submission. Entries ranged from kindergardeners to upper primary school students and some of the voices that children heard were, plastic bags choking sea turtles, shark’s cry for help, and trash laden seabed and waterways.

With the creativity of a large and dedicated team, we turned the negative perspectives into a powerful message by means of aerial art, and this time, choreographic aerial art! The week leading to the big event day, we had Michael Klubock from Los Angelos, United States, here in Hong Kong to conduct a fun and interactive visual presentation for children in school assemblies. Our Foundation provided the support for the assembly to make it possible for Chinese speaking schools to have the same exciting experiences.

Days leading to the event, John, the aerial artist, worked tirelessly to create the image, story and choreography on Repluse Bay Beach. The image was a composite of 3 different entries from children who all echoed a concern for sharks.

The final image created on the beach was a giant shark that used over 200m of rope to create. The fin was at first, severed, and then stitched back as the entire crew of children making the shape of the fin walked toward the body of the shark to revive its life. The choreography ended with the winners of the art competition, the 3 children, frolicking into the ring of the eye and dotting it to revive its life.

After the event, Michael Klubock and our Foundation made an extended leg to a school in Macao to share our event in Hong Kong and invited them to join us for next time.

Watch the video here.